Katz’s Delicatessen Inc
205 E Houston St, New York, NY
There are certain institutions that for me define a particular dish or a food item — one of these is Katz’s Deli, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. For many of us that live in the NY area, there is currently no other pastrami being served that deserves the level of praises that Katz’s receives. It is also a deli of legend, dating back to the 19th century, and has survived 2 world wars and contributed to the American victory of the second, with its “Send a salami to your boy in the army” campaign and mail order business that that continues to survive this very day.
For many who visit New York City, a Katz Pastrami on Rye is the definitive food item which represents the very best the city has to offer. It is the embodiment of culinary pride in the foods of our Jewish heritage. In my opinion, once you’ve visited Katz, the city becomes a part of you, and you become a little bit Jewish and a little bit New Yorker, no matter where you’re from or how you grew up.
Katz’s storefront on Houston Street.
From the large window facing the street, you can watch the countermen practice their dying art.
Like its pastramis, Katz’s makes its own salamis, hot dogs and sausages.
Don’t read on unless you want to be very, very hungry. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more!
When entering Katz, its sheer vastness overwhelms you — this is the Jewish Deli to end all Jewish Delis.
A view of the famous table where the “pastramigasm” made movie history. Ohhhhhh! Ohhhhhhh.. Ahhhhhhhhh… Yeah I’ll have what’s she’s having.
Of course, Katz isn’t all about pastrami and salami, there’s other great items on the menu. Click on the photo for enlargement.
Take your meal ticket on the way in. Under no circumstances lose it — guard it with your life.
As I said, DO NOT LOSE YOUR TICKET! Got it? Good.
It’s okay to be a newbie at Katz’s. But don’t be a schnook and order a lean sandwich!
Katz’s walls are lined with photos of celebs and local heroes.
Many of Katz’s countermen have been working at the Deli for many, many years. But still, they have to train new staff, and start them early.
The restaurant is busy at all hours of the day, but the counter is very efficient and it won’t take long for you to complete your order and sit down and eat.
Katz’s is one of the few remaining delis in North America that still slices its pastrami and corned beef by hand. It makes a huge difference in the texture of the resulting sandwich.
Pastrami on Rye, ordered “Juicy”. Don’t order it any other way.
Another view of a “Juicy”.
A “lean” sandwich. The schnook next to me ordered it. I told the counterman to let him try a piece of juicy for comparison, and boy did he regret his ordering decision. For 14 bucks for a sandwich (and if you know what is good for you, tip the counterman an extra $2 while he is slicing your sandwich and you’ll be happier) you had better get your money’s worth!
If the counterman likes you (read above on how to make him like you) he’ll give you some samples to taste. If you want him to dislike you, order a lean sandwich.
Juicy slice closeup.
This slice isn’t burnt, its from one of the smoky ends. The black stuff is the spice rub.
The Dr. Brown’s holy trinity.
Katz has two kinds of pickles, half sour and full sour.
The mail order and take-out salami counter. We’ll get back to this later.
Once you’ve gotten everything at the counter, get yourself settled.
Mmmmm. Now doesn’t that look good?
Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda (behind) is the perfect beverage accompaniment to a pastrami sandwich. Less sweet than ginger ale with a more herbal flavor due to the celery seed spicing, it performs much of the same function as a nice red wine does to clean the palate when eating the spicy, fatty sandwich.
Katz isn’t just about the Pastrami — the brisket sandwich, shown here, is dammned good too.
The cheesesteaks are also excellent as well.
Katz has fantastic hot dogs, but everyone in the know prefers the Knoblewurst, pictured above. Its like a very garlicky kielbasa that has been grilled to the point where its skin becomes crispy, but the inside is still juicy.
Katz’s french fries are also excellent. But don’t bother with the knishes, they’re not great. If you want knishes, go up the block to Yonah Schimmel, which specializes in them.
Chopped liver portion, on rye bread.
The takeout/mail-order counter area.
The mail order/takeout counter does a brisk business.
The price list of takeout/mail order items. Note that the pastrami off this menu is refrigerated, and is “extra lean” because the hot pastrami served at the restaurant cannot be shipped. However, you can take the hot stuff home and order it by the pound, but you have to order it from the sandwich counter. Got it?
I went back to the sandwich counter to get an order of pastrami to take home.
Pastrami for sandwiches for the next day. Just heat up a portion of it on a plate in the microwave for about a minute, that’s all it needs.
You can still “senda” salami to your boy (or girl) in the army or anywhere else.
Slicing up some salami.
Salami to take home. Katz’s fresh made salami is of the harder, denser variety than other Jewish-style salamis, and are left to hang dry for several weeks before they are sold.
A closeup of some beef brisket that was destined for another customer.
Katz’s seltzer dispenser/counter. You don’t see much of these anymore.
The dessert case, which we never have room for!
Bidding the deli goodbye.
Salami and eggs — the morning after.
Salami, Eggs, Mango, OJ, and Nexium. The breakfast of champions.
Katz’s salami is great on sandwiches, but when pan fried it takes on a completely different quality.